Matt Forte put together another strong outing, churning out 116 yards while averaging 5.3 yards per attempt. The Bears ran the ball 25 times, and averaged 4.9 yards as a team against one of the best defensive front sevens the club has seen all season. The outing was encouraging after a strong showing the week before against a weaker Carolina Panthers squad.
Quarterback Jay Cutler completed better than 70 percent of his passes for a touchdown and no interceptions, only to have the performance diminished by unnecessary false-start penalties and dropped balls by his receiving targets. Despite heavy pressure, Cutler delivered the ball accurately, and absorbed just three sacks on the night. Too bad the pieces around him didn't help out more.
For four weeks in a row the Bears have allowed teams to eclipse the 100-yard mark. No team should average 9.1 yards per carry, and no player should ever break through the middle of the defense and go 88 yards untouched. But that's exactly what Best and the Lions did. Best averaged 13.6 yards per carry with most of the yardage coming on runs between the tackles.
The Bears gave up too many big plays through the air. Safety Chris Harris admitted to biting on a double move on Calvin Johnson's 73-yard TD reception. Because they were getting gashed so badly in the running game, the pass defense suffered, too. Perhaps that's why -- according to ESPN Stats & Information -- Matthew Stafford was able to complete all five of his play-action passes, including an 18-yard TD to Brandon Pettigrew.
Robbie Gould nailed two field goals from 44 yards or more, and Adam Podlesh finished with a net punting average of 39 yards. But the Bears couldn't get the return game going. Devin Hester made an uncharacteristic mistake in attempting to field a ball he probably should have let go, which resulted in the team starting one drive at its own 7. Hester returned one punt on the night for only 1 yard.
Bears coach Lovie Smith said he couldn't explain how the team ended up burning all three timeouts in the first quarter. But after so many instances of time-management issues, surely the team would take corrective measures. The coaching staff also seemed to err in trying to convert a fourth-and-1 in the first quarter instead of opting to put points on the board with a field goal.
EXPERTS' PREDICTIONS FOR WEEK 5
- DeFalco (2-2)
- J.D. (3-1)
- Jon (3-1)
- Isaacson (2-2)
- Jurkovic (2-2)
- Silvy (3-1)
- Spain (3-1)
- Harry (4-0)
- Waddle (2-2)
- Wilbon (3-1)
- Woj (3-1)
- Wright (2-2)